Opening Up the Discussion
One of the great things about having twelve people in a class is that everyone can get a chance to bounce their ideas off each other and get a fresh perspective when you’re just too deeply involved to see clearly. Especially when trying to nail down a thesis, as we are now, an open environment to present your ideas and get critical feedback and new insights is truly invaluable. As a class, we are able to articulate questions and arguments that we are struggling with individually, and develop clear ways of addressing these questions or creating chains of evidence to support our claims. I now feel confident in the direction of my paper, and I am ready to attack my research and writing with a new focus.
Opening Avenues of Interpretation
Whilst studying Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne, our class began a discussion of the role of audience interpretation in a work. For today’s viewer, there are limited ways of reading a work, mainly narrative, biographic, or personal, but the 17th century viewer could approach a piece from any one, or combination of, numerous readings—theological, neo-platonic, poetic, theatrical, historic—to uncover layers of meaning in a piece. To me, the ability to discover these kinds of dialogic understandings that interact with one another reflects the value of a liberal arts education, as studying a comprehensive assortment of subjects enables you to approach a problem through myriad perspectives and understandings.